Reference: Deborah Tannehill, Giyasettin Demirhan, Petra Caplová, and Züleyha Avsar (2020). Continuing professional development for physical education teachers in Europe, European Physical Education Review, 27:1, 150-167. DOI.10.1177/1356336X20931531
The abstract and section headings: The abstract begins with the intention of exploring the types of CPD that are practised in fourteen European countries. The authors argue that we need to know more about CPD internationally in both general education and physical education if we are to better define and enact effective CPD. The key characteristics of CPD, as highlighted by Parker and Patton (2017), serve as a “guide to how teachers learn and how they might be better served in that learning.” Further to that, however, we also need to juxtapose these characteristics against the realities of practice. This study aimed to provide a “modest insight” into the current status of CPD so as to begin to inform international and comparative education with regard to CPD. The authors propose the development of (i) a European physical education CPD network where we can share CPD practices, (ii) engage in discussions of those practices, and (iii) design collaborative research into such CPD practices.
The section and sub-heading were - CPD in education, CPD in physical education, Effective CPD is ongoing and sustained, CPD based on teachers’ needs and interests, Effective CPD acknowledges teachers as learners in an active and social environment, Effective CPD includes collaborative opportunities within learning communities, Effective CPD enhances teachers’ pedagogical skills and content knowledge, Effective CPD is facilitated with care; and Effective CPD is supported.
Introduction and conclusion: The intended outcome of CPD should be to improve the quality of teaching by teachers and, by association, the learning of learners. Despite this, and recognising increases in funding, persistent concerns remain regarding the quality of CPD provision in both general education and physical education. Teachers, the authors report, have increasing opportunities to upskill and enhance their professional practice and yet much CPD is still passive, one-shot workshops which are designed by administrators and imposed on teachers. Consequently, the potential for powerful learning opportunities is lost.
Hargreaves and Fullan (2012) suggested that CPD be placed in the hands of teachers so they can (i) set their own professional goals, (ii) determine how to reach them and (iii) work collectively to achieve them. Ultimately this would allow us to better understand what they see as good practice. This study aimed to improve our knowledge about the CPD and how different strategies, models and approaches might better impact on teachers.
The authors concluded, despite some reported gaps in their data, that there is a lack of evidence of the impact of the CPD programmes explored on learners’ learning or how teachers’ feelings of empowerment were enhanced because of CPD initiatives. Therefore, there is greater need for a joined-up approach i.e., a CPD network that helps the aspiration of PD become a reality in schools. One feature of CPD that was notably absent were any pedagogical approaches – or signature pedagogies - in any of the countries included in this study. The development of a CPD network might help us to develop such pedagogies for learning across different CPD contexts. Such characteristics shouldn’t stand-alone but should be used by CPD providers to assess, analyse, compare, and improve CPD and ultimately improve teachers’ teaching and benefit learners’ learning.
Tables and diagrams: Table 1 of 1 shows the national requirements for CPD in fourteen European countries. Looking at the table there are some stark contrasts. Italy, for example, has the highest requirement for CPD with the possibility of 150 hours per year. This contrasts with 12/hours per year in Malta and 100 hours every six years in Spain. What is clear from the table is there is no consensus regarding the requirements for CPD across any of these European countries.
The point of the paper: The paper sets out to explore the practice and importance of CPD in different European countries and refocus our intentions on the purpose of CPD i.e., to improve teachers’ teaching and, consequently, learners’ learning. By drawing on a broader landscape of CPD practices, the authors felt they could make meaningful recommendations about our next steps in understanding and developing effective CPD.
The main arguments: That CPD is developed by administrators and delivered in one-shot days that bear little resemblance to the needs of teachers and the learners they serve. If, instead, we put CPD in the hands of teachers, and we support them through a European network, then decisions about meaningful and impactful CPD can be made.
The importance of this paper: Much of what is said in the paper is already known, but the importance comes from the European perspective and our increased understanding of the variance of practice. The paper also offers us an ambitious future, one in which we cooperate on the future direction and actualisation of effective CPD in physical education.
The paper’s contribution to my knowledge: I am fairly familiar with this literature so much was a reacquaintance with the main arguments. My biggest take home was the variance in practice across Europe. It seems incredulous that every country takes such an isolated approach to CPC. It is as if people are guessing and picking the number of hours/days that sounds about right.
Summary of the paper in one or two sentences: CPD has little evidenced impact on teachers’ practice and learners’ learning. Given this we need to (a) better understand current practice, and (b) come together to (i) share CPD practices (ii) engage in discussions of CPD practices, and (iii) design collaborative research into such CPD practices.
To the Authors: I would welcome a response to this blog. If you wish to write a response to be published on PEPRN, please email me – A.J.B.Casey@lboro.ac.uk with the final text.
About the Twenty 20 Vision Blog: For many years I wrote a weekly blog. In fact, between 2011 and 2021 I accumulated a catalogue of more than 450 blogs. But then I hit a wall. I simply ran out of energy and time. Consequently, 2022 wasn’t a great year for PEPRN. Following a modernization of the blog by Philte (thanks), and recognising my enduring desire that this break be a blip and not an end, I’m back with a new format and renewed ambition.
During 2022 I acknowledged that I needed to run PEPRN differently and over time the idea of a “Twenty 20 vision” blog emerged. This was, in part, in tribute to T20 cricket (which I love) and 20/20 vision (which I used to have) and in part due to the recognition that PEPRN needed to be easier to write and therefore sustain.
The idea of the Twenty 20 vision blog is for me to read a paper in no more than twenty minutes using an approach I often recommend to students but have never actually done myself. For each paper I will do a shallow dive, reading only (a) the abstract and section headings, (b) the introduction and conclusion, and (c) the tables and diagrams. All other writing will be ignored. With this information to hand, I will then write the blog in no more than 20 minutes (thus the “twenty 20 vision” blog) using eight headers: (i) Reference; (ii) The abstract and section headings; (iii) Introduction and conclusion; (iv) Tables and diagrams; (v) The point of the paper; (vi) The main arguments; (vii) The importance of this paper; (viii) The paper’s contribution to my knowledge; and a (ix) Summary of the paper in one or two sentences. Whatever emerges will then be published (after a little editing because I make a lot of grammatical errors typing that fast). The aim is to make paper reading and blog writing manageable once again whilst maintaining the integrity and usefulness of PEPRN. My plan is to publish a blog every two weeks and provide an opportunity for the authors to respond to the blog (an aspect of publishing that I’d like to see more of in this type of endeavour).
I hope I will achieve these aims, but feedback is welcomed and invited. Please let me know how I can get better at this and how the blog can better serve the community.